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Scott Rasmussen may have been the only conflicted fan at the CIF Northern Regional Open Bowl By JIM McCUE | Senior Contributor   As...

Scott Rasmussen may have been the only conflicted fan at the CIF Northern Regional Open Bowl

By JIM McCUE | Senior Contributor


As the buildup for the CIF Northern Regional Open Division Regional Championship between Folsom and De La Salle grew leading up to kickoff, Scott Rasmussen found himself excited, yet somewhat conflicted. 

As a Folsom resident and former Junior Bulldogs coach, he was excited to see his local school have the opportunity to knock off the storied program from the Bay Area. But, as a De La Salle graduate and former Spartan football player, he was happy for the chance to see his alma mater play just a short drive down Highway 50 at Sacramento State.

“I was a little conflicted,” Rasmussen said of the title tilt between his two strongest high school connections. “I love De La Salle and love Coach Lad, but I found myself rooting for Folsom.”

“I have been up here so long, and I love this community and want to see Folsom teams do well. It was kind of a win-win for me, though, because of my connection to both schools.”

Rasmussen, who would regularly kid Folsom co-coach Kris Richardson through the years about when the Bulldogs would face the Spartans, finally got his dream matchup. To celebrate the occasion and show his allegiance to both programs, the former lineman dusted off his De La Salle jersey and wore his green proudly with some Folsom blue displayed as well.

“I caught a lot of good-natured flak from people on both sides,” he admitted of his game-night ensemble. “People from Folsom were asking why I would wear that because most of them did not know that I went to De La Salle.”

Rasmussen enrolled at the small Catholic school campus as a freshman in the fall of 1980 when his parents decided to move their son to a private high school. At the time, he had never played organized football and the Spartans were just another small school football program dwarfed by surrounding Bay Area powers.

After a year on the freshman and junior varsity teams, Rasmussen finally made the jump to varsity as a junior in 1982. Playing at defensive tackle, both he and the program found themselves rising in notoriety as the Spartans finished as undefeated North Coast Section 2A champions and Rasmussen began to accumulate recruiting letters from various colleges. The 1982 title was the first of 28 NCS titles that head coach Bob Ladouceur has led the Spartans to and was the first of many undefeated season for De La Salle.

The program’s history under Ladouceur, who took over the football program and the school’s Religious Studies Department as a 24-year-old teacher with little experience, is now legendary. While the Spartans were considered a rising small school team during his time on the Concord campus, Rasmussen admits that he never dreamed De La Salle would be a national power in the future.

“I knew that Lad was a great coach,” he said, “but I had no idea that anything like that could happen there. I never imagined that they could rise to that level of prominence.”

The Spartan lineman would start on both sides of the ball as a senior and accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Colorado. He was at the Boulder campus for five years (four years of football plus a redshirt season) and eventually settled in Folsom in the 1990s. He has five children — twins that graduated from Folsom High School and triplets that will attend Folsom’s other, newer high school, Vista del Lago — that reconnected the former player to football as a line coach for the Junior Bulldogs for nine years, and now as a coach for the Vista Junior Eagles.

As a coach, Rasmussen can appreciate Ladouceur even more, and can try to emulate the legendary coach as a leader and teacher.

“He is a teacher first, so he is always trying to teach you to get better as a player,” Rasmussen said of Ladouceur, who was the Spartans line coach for most of his first 30 seasons. “He was very fair and honest, and has never been a screamer. You can be intimidated by his presence, but he never tried to intimidate you.”

After De La Salle’s 49-15 victory over Folsom in the regional final that sent the Spartans to the CIF State Open Bowl for the fourth consecutive year, Rasmussen stuck around Hornet Field and reconnected with Ladouceur and others. 

In spite of his Folsom jacket and hat, former teammate and current assistant coach Mark Panella invited Rasmussen into the locker room where Ladouceur and his two former players shared hugs and stories. More than 10 years removed from his last De La Salle game and contact with Coach Lad, Rasmussen said the brief banter about life and football was an excellent reconnection and reminder of Ladouceur’s greatness as a man and a coach.

“I think that everyone who has played for him holds him in high regard,” Rasmussen said. “He has a passion for teaching and positively impacting the lives of young men.”

Rasmussen planned to follow the Spartans in their quest for a fourth straight Open Bowl Championship on television from the comfort of his couch. His viewing attire was not yet decided, but the former lineman did not rule out donning his old jersey again.

“It was a little snug, but it still fit me,” he said of the jersey. “It’s just not quite as loose as we used to wear them when I was 17.”

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